Apple farming is slowly taking shape in Busoga region. At least 13 farmers spread in Jinja, Kamuli and Iganga districts have planted more than 1000 trees in an effort to diversify their household incomes.
Steven Wante is one of the apple farmers in Jinja. According to Wante, he has planted 300 apple trees in his gardens in Bugembe, Wakisi and Buikwe over the past one year.
Wante says he decided to venture into apple growing because of the favorable whether condition. He says grafted apples are doing well on his gardens in Bugembe and Wakisi in Buikwe districts.
Joseph Kiirya, an apple farmer in Iganga says the trees need extra care especially when the temperature is high. Currently, the temperature in Iganga ranges between 27 to 30 degrees centigrade.
He says this requires constant watering of the plant to prevent them from withering. Musa Ibandha, an Agriculture officer in Jinja says Apples grow best on well-drained loam soils with a depth of 45 cm and a range of acidity or alkalinity ranging between 5 to 6.
He says the soil should be free from hard substrata and water-logged conditions. Ibandha says the crop requires well-distributed rainfall of 1000-1250 mm throughout the growing season.
He says apples can grow in Busoga but the yields may not be as the ones for apples grown in temperate regions like Kabale in Uganda.
Ibandha is optimistic that apple farming will help farmers improve their income.